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Democracy in Retreat: The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline of Representative Government
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Democracy in Retreat: The Revolt of the Middle Class and the Worldwide Decline of Representative Government

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  53 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Since the end of the Cold War, the assumption among most political theorists has been that as nations develop economically, they will also become more democratic—especially if a vibrant middle class takes root. This assumption underlies the expansion of the European Union and much of American foreign policy, bolstered by such examples as South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwa ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Yale University Press
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Average rating 3.38  · 
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 ·  53 ratings  ·  8 reviews

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Hunter Marston
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Kurlantzick's book's focus is heavily weighted toward analyzing trends, using statistical data and international ratings to assess the current state of democracy worldwide. But it comes up short on analysis, and it begs the question: so what? The book provides a fairly convincing case for the decline of democracy in the 2000s, but the author doesn't fully explain the significance or implications of his findings.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Published in 2013, this book looks at democratic backsliding in several developing countries. The author considers the possible reasons for this, including the rise of China and the decline of the US and Western model. He also looks at how Russia and China tried to undermine democracy in countries in their "spheres of influence." He finishes with some suggestions for how the US can better work to promote democracy. The book is well-written, and if anything, the situation has gotten worse since i ...more
Rex Tsai
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: taipei
Bob Mustin
Sep 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Disappointment in Democracy

This is more of a treatise than a piece of literary nonfiction, and as with most such pieces of writing, the overlong title virtually tells the story. The author has done an admirable job of collecting data and anecdotes to support his thesis here, which is one of high hopes dashed.

The U.S., he writes, has been the primary nation actively trying to export democracy, and perhaps too over zealous in doing so. His concern isn’t our misadventu
Jeffrey Cavanaugh
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Twenty-five years after Francis Fukuyama published his famous 'End of History' article in the The National Interest, liberal democracy is, far from being on the march, seemingly in retreat in many regions around the world. While the author points our various reasons for this, four in particular stand out: slow growth and inequality, corruption, Western weakness, and the existence of a successful, non-democratic development model in China. Since none of these factors seem to be lessening any time ...more
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A very interesting book that explains clearly and thoroughly the reasons for the recent failings of democracy and in democratic spirit round the world. In particular it attacks the ideas of democracy being linked to economic growth and that the middle class drives democratic reform.

Already slightly outdated though regarding the Arab Spring, due to the rapid events in Tunisia, Libya and especially Egypt and Syria. The book can't really be blamed for this though.
Robert Chapman
May 31, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: politcs, society
There is lots of good history lessons and loads of statistical data in this book, however, it never comes together in a tangible way. I found this book very hard to get and stay engaged with, I only finished it so as to say I gave it a fair shake before writing a review.
May 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting and thought provoking.
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